February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. Making sure your kids’ dental health is well-taken care of is incredibly important for their overall health, as well. It may not be physical activity (of which one in three children doesn’t get enough), but oral hygiene is connected to countless other bodily health issues.

The Center for Health and Health Care in Schools warns that 51 million school hours are lost each year due to dental-related illness. This can cause major problems for schools, especially the 87 percent of private schools with fewer than 300 students. If you’re looking to keep your children’s dental health well managed for Children’s Dental Health Month, here are a few easy steps you can take to keep them healthy for longer.

Watch For Careful Brushing

When encouraging your children to brush their teeth, make sure that they brush the correct way. Many children don’t brush long enough due to impatience, getting distracted, or simply not knowing just how long they need to brush for. Watch your children when they’re still learning to brush their teeth to ensure they’re brushing for the right amount of time. Additionally, keep an eye on how much toothpaste they’re using. Too much toothpaste may actually be unhealthy, especially at younger ages.

Don’t Skip On Flossing

Your kids might be great about brushing their teeth, but do they floss on a regular basis? Gum health is just as important as tooth health, and flossing can guarantee that their gums stay healthy. Make sure your children (and you) floss regularly to avoid gum disease that can keep them from feeling as healthy as possible.

What About Their Diet?

Brushing and flossing are great, but without a healthy diet, all these dental care tips can go to waste. Make sure your kids are taking proper care of their overall health as well as their teeth by eating healthy and avoiding eating too many sugary foods. Your children’s diet is largely dependent on your own, so do your best to model good behavior for them. The more they see you eating healthy, the more likely it is they’ll continue to eat healthy foods later in life.

Check In With Your Dentist

One of the best ways to ensure your child is receiving the dental health care that they need is to schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists are trained specifically to work with young children who may be anxious about their dentist appointment, so even if your child is worried about their visit, it’s important to make sure they’re receiving proper care. The AAPD recommends that kids and teens see a pediatric dentist every six months to for regular checkups including an exam, cleaning, fluoride treatment, and occasional x-rays to prevent cavities and other problems.

This Children’s Dental Health Month, make sure you and your kids are all properly taking care of your dental health by brushing and flossing correctly, eating well, and making it to your regular dentist appointments. These can all help you maintain your dental health and keep your kids’ teeth growing strong.

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